Get your quiestions Answer

Age isn’t the only sign of trustworthiness, but it’s always good to know that a logistics provider has a proven infrastructure and established relationships in the industry. The answer to this question helps you to frame the rest of the discussion.

Possibly the most important part of your logistics partnership is having confidence that your provider has a firm grasp on your business requirements. If they’re able to make appropriate recommendations about how to best serve your customers via supply chain improvements, it’s a good sign that they’ll be a valuable partner. This also helps you to understand any limitations to the service a logistics provider might have, as discussions around customization tend to dig into the details of what can and can’t be done.

Beyond all the service details and industry experience, you also want a supplier who does business in a way that aligns with your own company’s culture. This helps to minimize friction as you build the relationship, as well as giving you a deeper insight into what values the company holds.

You want your service provider to have an efficient order fulfillment system already in operation, preferably with minimal adjustment requirements to accommodate your business. While the ability to provide customized services may be important to you, the majority of the operation should be standardized so that the potential for disruptions is lowered. Also, remember to ask about building in some slack for storage and short-notice fulfillment. Again, you don’t want this to be the norm, but it’s good to know that some capacity exists to bend to satisfy unexpected bursts of demand.

Just as your logistics provider will be an extension of your own business operations, the companies to whom they contract out their services are an extension of theirs. While you won’t necessarily have direct contact with these deeper organizations, you’ll want to know who they are and research their reputation as well. Who your potential choices trust also says a lot about their business priorities, such as whether they focus on keeping costs low or are willing to pay more for quality of service.

 

This question (or one like that) will flip the script on question two, requiring the provider to think on their feet and anticipate any challenges that might arise from your supply chain requirements. It also provides an opportunity for you to both get on the same page, as you’ve likely already worked out (or seen before) where these bottlenecks will arise. If the 3PL raises them, all the better, but even if you have to coax them, their solution(s) will help you to decide if they’ll make a good operational partner.

 

Most of your confidence will come from earlier answers and the quality of client testimonials, but verification from trusted business associations can also be valuable. Some may even provide more information about the logistics provider in question, which can help to reduce the amount of time you need to spend researching for yourself.

 

A final (and crucial!) check is, as with any interview process, to ask for references. Although any satisfied clients that you can talk to are helpful, the most valuable are those in a similar field to your own, or those who have similar types of supply chain requirements. By this point you should be able to list any concerns you have about a potential logistics provider, so take the opportunity to ask these satisfied clients if they have encountered similar worries. While you might not get all the answers you need, the alternative perspective from someone on your side of the fence can go a long way to informing your decision.

Discuss with Our Specialist